This week I had the opportunity to attend Into the Mainstream: Explaining the Rise of Radical Populist Parties in Europe. The lecture was held at Zarrow Hall by Dr. Reinhard Heinisch. I decided to attend this lecture purely out of obligation. I realized that this lecture would not only count towards my Global Engagement requirements but it would also count as an extra credit opportunity in my Understanding the Global Community class. In this lecture, Dr. Reinhard Heinisch attempted to explain the rise of radical populist parties in Europe and the long-term implications of this phenomena. In general, populism is the political doctrine that proposes that the common people are exploited by a privileged elite and seeks to solve this. From the lecture, it seems that populism In recent years, Europe has experienced a rise in radical populism and it isn’t just a momentary trend. It’s on the rise because this kind of party is highly mobile, flexible, and represents more than just one pool of voters. In fact, in the lecture, Dr. Reinard Heize, explained that populism steals from both left and right wing parties. As a result, the rise and growth of populism in Europe has caused rises in emerging political parties, nationalism/nativism and anti-globalist views.
I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture but wish Dr. Reinhard would’ve delved more into the effects of populism and its future implications. Overall, increased nationalism and anti-globalist views in Europe is alarming and leads me to question whether this rise in populism will lead to large increases in racism and paranoia in Europe. The rise of anti-immigration and anti-Muslim views already seems to be proof of this. The masses in Europe seem to fear losing their social identity and sense of control. Moreover, how far will the rise in populism set globalist ideals back? For the most part, in recent years, the world has undergone a steady process of globalization that has spread trade, technology, and capital across global boundaries. However, as the rise of nationalism and nativism increases in Europe the masses will undoubtedly want to stray away from the globalist agenda. I feel that in the upcoming years this could eventually mean decreases in international correspondence and negotiation as every country will be more concerned with their own social and political agenda. Alarmingly, this could in turn also weaken larger international bodies like NATO and the United Nations. However, the bigger concern is that, the world can’t afford this type of social and political development. In order to ensure changes in larger issues like inequality and environmental sustainability, cooperation and understanding need to be continued.